Developing Your Mindset for Success

by Cass Art

As the new year begins, many artists will be considering how to turn their creative passions into a career. The Visual Artists Association is a body that empowers Artists to reach their best potential in their arts careers. They pride themselves on dispelling the myth of the 'starving artists' by providing you with guidance, support, and resources to help you grow as an artist. We asked Shirley-Ann O’Neill, Director at the Visual Artists Association to get her advice on developing your mindset for success, and what potentially holds us back.

Over to you Shirley!...

Shirley-Ann O’Neill

Mindset is repeatedly hailed as the most important aspect of any great artist. Being able to create new artwork and access opportunities to show your work is an essential part of developing a growth mindset. We all have invisible boundaries around us, be they comfort zones or barriers. But what happens if we never push ourselves outside our comfort zone? Boredom or worse? The problem is that many of us allow a fixed mindset to dampen our spirits and hold us back. Turning your passion into your profession, moving from early career to professional artist, is much easier when you work on developing your mindset.

Every artist was once an amateur is a famous saying, so remember you are not alone. Having worked with many extremely successful artists, the one thing that they all have in common is their mindset habits. These artists have made a commitment to this process. They have learnt how develop a growth mindset. Importantly, professional artists learn to measure their worth by their commitment to creating and communicating their art, and not by temporal successes and failures of the external world. Obviously artists need to create income streams to not only survive but thrive. The fact is, the more visible and successful you are, the more disappointment and failure you will have experienced (if you even count it as failure).

Growth vs Fixed Mindset

If you have a fixed mindset you believe that your artistic skills, opportunities to show your artwork, and potential income from art are fixed and constant. You may believe that some people are born this way and it can’t be developed or changed. Whereas if you have a growth mindset you understand that you have the ability to develop both your artistic skills and business skills. You can grow and succeed by applying yourself and gaining the knowledge to evolve.

Some tips for developing a growth mindset:

  1. Get used to testing and trying out new ideas to communicate your artworks. Understandably, everyone likes to feel like they are making progress, as this will spur you to continue along the narrow road. Truly prolific visible artists have figured out daily habits to support this process. 
  2. Understand that you need to show your artwork and seek opportunities. Being visible as a pro artist essentially means you are a self-employed creative business owner. You have learnt how to cut-through the noise. Learning how to gain visibility to monetise and earn income from your creativity is a practice. There are multiple ways to get visible and generate income as an artist – these are not fixed.
  3. Always remember somewhere close to you right now, is another artist doing exactly what you want to do and is getting paid well for it. The only difference is that they worked through their fears and mindset to find their power. They have adopted certain habits to quieten down any doubts or to set them aside. They have found their artistic voice. They have acquired a growth mindset.

One of the ways to develop your mindset is to join a professional artist community such as the Visual Artists Association. Artists with fixed mindsets tend to be really hard on themselves. Rather than letting your inner critic take over, surround yourself with positive artists who can encourage you to keep going. You may also find that you can also give encouragement to other fellow artists in the community, which will help your confidence.  Finally trust the process and be patient. You will learn that obstacles are just detours or tiny blips in your journey to greatness.

The VAA runs micro learning classes for artists on developing your mindset for opportunities, to help artists unlock their potential and access where the magic happens!  The next micro-learning ‘Mindset for Opportunities’ masterclass will take place on 26th January 2022 via Zoom Webinar at 14.00 GMT. More details at Visual Artists Association www.visual-artists.org

Thanks Shirley!

Feeling inspired? Join the VAA today!

Get 10% off membership when you purchase a membership package online with the discount code CASSART until midnight on 20th January 2022. Find out more and join the VAA here. 

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